The innovation engine for new materials

David Higgs

David Higgs




Carleton College


Nikita Butakov

Faculty Sponsor(s): 

Jon Schuller

Faculty Sponsor's Department(s): 

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Project Title: 

Utilizing the Insulator-to-Metal Transition of VO2 for Designing Tunable Metamaterials

Project Description: 

Metasurfaces are two-dimensional structures that can control the amplitude, phase and polarization of light in reflection or transmission. This allows metasurfaces to behave like traditional optical elements such as lenses, collimators or beamsplitters.  However, metasurfaces only work under very specific conditions and have a fixed optical response. In this work, we demonstrate tunable metasurfaces by utilizing the insulator-to-metal phase transition of vanadium dioxide (VO2).  This transition allows a metasurface to have a large variety of behavior that depend on the temperature of VO2.  Due to metasurface’s dependence on the spatial arrangement and properties of its unit cells, these tunable metasurfaces must be designed to function at both the insulating and metallic phase of VO2. Using Finite-Difference Time-Domain (FDTD) simulation software and analytical electromagnetic techniques, we design and investigate the optical response of metasurfaces and thin-film stacks with a layer of VO2. We successfully designed a tunable thin-film stack that modulates reflection. Additionally, it can function as a switchable polarizer. These results form the basis for designing more complex nano-optical components, such as reconfigurable gratings and tunable absorbers.